Harvesting tomatoes in the garden. It’s great to see so much color in my backyard.
May is National Bike Month and I am making an effort, more than ever, to hop on my two-wheeled buddy to work. Just to catch you up on things, “Sweet Charlemagne” is the name of my urban commuter bicycle and with a recent move to the suburbs, it has been difficult for her and I to carve up the city streets together.
In a previous post, Waipahu to Honolulu: Pearl Harbor Bike Path and Beyond
I attempted a 2-hour commute and though it was adventurous, it wasn’t very practical for everyday use. Not wanting to give up on pedaling, Sweet Charlemagne now has a front row seat to freeway traffic via the bike rack on TheBus – Honolulu’s official public transportation system.
Leading up to my first bike rack experience, I studied up on the online guide, which specified need-to-know details:
- Types of Bikes Allowed on the Rack
- Protocol for Foldable or Collapsible Bikes
- How to Measure Your Bike
- How to Operate All Three Types of Racks
It is very important to know the proper etiquette in communicating to your driver when you are loading/unloading your bicycle. During my first experience of unloading, the driver was very courteous – reminding me to grab my bicycle when exiting and waited until I was completely off the road with my bike before moving the vehicle. TheBus suggests exiting through the front door so that you can communicate to the driver that you are about to unload your bicycle. Therefore I would suggest sitting near the front or even stand near the front (if there are no seats available) as you approach your stop. On another trip, I made the mistake of sitting in the middle and the driver almost left my stop before I could get to the front to tell him I plan to unload.
When sharing my experience with friends, they expressed feelings of anxiety when imagining having to step in front of a bus and momentarily hold up the loading process. My outlook on the situation is, yes, it can hold up the process but in the long run, taking 30-45 seconds to load/unload a bike is nothing compared to the size of a car that I would otherwise take up on the freeway and the environmental pollution it would produce.
For more info on National Bike Month and related events going on in Honolulu, visit http://www.hbl.org/
As I sit here at my desk, I can feel the direction of any slight breeze that wafts into the room. The sun looks pretty bright outside and so I definitely know I’ll have to wear a hat on the way to my car. I spent 10 minutes in front of the mirror today, trying to find an angle to tilt head in order to balance out my uneven hairline. These are all new to me as I live with stubble for the next few weeks. I shaved my head to help fight childhood cancer.
Worldwide, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. While those numbers are staggering, what really hit me is trying to imagine my 3-year old with cancer. My tear ducts begin welling up just thinking about it. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation raises funds for childhood cancer research, primarily through head-shaving events. I formed a team with some co-workers to collect donations, styled my hair one last time and headed to the rooftop of Dave & Buster’s to kiss my locks goodbye.
Once I arrived to the event, I was overwhelmed by the community’s support. The 2013 St. Baldrick’s Hawaii head-shaving event was packed to the gills. I was greeted by a raised platform with 4 shaving stations and a line of participants that snaked throughout Dave & Buster’s Sunset Bar.
I spoke with the event organizer Jeremy Edwards, who pointed out some families there who had children living with cancer, as well as even a few families that suffered a loss. The children themselves were even on stage to assist the head-shaving volunteers. I was honored to have Haley get started on my head as I sat in chair #4. I asked her to start right in the middle to ensure a point of no return.
When I got home that evening, I wore a cap to prevent from startling my 3-year old daughter. I sat her down and explained that there are some very sick little boys and girls and in order to help them, daddy had to cut off all this hair. As she seemed to try to grasp what I was saying, I slowly pulled off my cap. “Daddy, you look pretty funny” is what I’ve been hearing from her every day this week. I use that as an opportunity to remind her that I lost my hair for a great cause.
I proudly wear my St. Baldrick’s Foundation pin on my jacket and take the time to share the cause with curious onlookers. Although many commend me on my courage to go bald, it is a drop in the bucket compared to what these kids have to go through as they live with cancer. These kids are the real heroes and I’ll keep shaving my head every April until we find a cure.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my family and I have recently moved into a new home. It was a bit of a fixer-upper, leaving us with the task of deciding what to renovate first. I targeted the kitchen and bathroom, expecting my family to follow. However I was surprised to see my wife and daughter immediately begin pulling weeds to make way for our first family garden.
At first I thought they were crazy. I thought to myself, “why are they playing around with projects on the yard when there’s so much to do in the house?”
However now I look at the humble beginnings of our garden, I understand how it can be one of the most important areas of the home. After all, it’s where we will soon be getting a portion of our food.
I’m very proud to introduce you to my family’s garden.
In the front row, we have Manoa lettuce. Behind them is a row of red leaf lettuce. In the back, we have basil, cilantro and some pink flowers growing in a raised garden bed we created, using an old book shelf we removed from the wall.
Over to the side we also planted tomato and as a special gift to me, my wife put in a jalapeno plant.
We were also gifted with some plants already waiting for us. We gladly accepted this aloe plant from the previous home owner, as my grandparents used it for various medicinal purposes.
I’m not known for having a green thumb so I am grateful for my family’s help with this garden. Although there are many boxes yet to unpack, having a fruitful garden already gives me the sense of being home.
After 6 years of living in downtown Honolulu, I have moved to Oahu’s leeward side - Waikele (Waipahu) to be exact. Mainlanders may scoff when Hawaii residents complain about a 16 mile commute. However with our nationally-ranked traffic woes, routes that should take only half an hour can end up keeping commuters well over an hour in the driver’s seat.
Having done all my previous commutes on bicycle, this was a major concern for me. My usual trips back and forth through town rarely exceeded 15 minutes. As I now live way out west, the obvious solution would be for me to fork over the cash for a bus pass. However upon doing some research, I came across blogs that mentioned the Pearl Harbor Bike Path. It runs from Waipahu to the edge of Aiea. I figured if I could get to Salt Lake area, I would be able to figure out the rest and pedal myself to town.
That’s all I would hear when mentioning the 16.5 mile bicycle commute to my friends and family. All the blogs I’ve read about the bike path treat the ride as an all-day recreational event. I was determined to ride the path myself and see if I had enough juice left in me to continue on to downtown Honolulu. I pulled up a suggested bike route on Google Maps, pumped up my tires and started my journey.
Navigating the streets of Waipahu were fairly easy, having a dedicated bicycle lane for half of the way. Finding the actual entrance to the Pearl Harbor Bike Path was another story. The calming scenery along Waipahu Depot Road caused me to overshoot my route and I soon found myself at “Warning Government Property” signs. After taking some time to zoom in on my map, I back pedaled for a few blocks and took a few quick turns, which led me to the unmarked entrance to the bike path.
I have a single-speed bicycle, which only posed as a problem for a few points. For the most part, the route is generally flat. One major difference with this commute that I had noticed early on was all the head-turning. I am so used to having cars zipping past me on my town commutes; I would normally be looking straight ahead. The environment along the path would change about every 5 minutes. One moment, I would be riding along a stream, then a golf course, then a forest and then battleships. There’s a lot to see on this ride.
Before I knew it, I was at the edge of Aiea - where every previous blog on the Pearl Harbor Bike Path ended. In a lot of ways, this is where the real adventure began. The suggested bicycle routes on Google Maps were in beta so I knew that extra caution was to be taken.
I exited the Aiea Bay State Recreation Area and decided to ride on the sidewalk along Kamehameha Highway towards the Honolulu International Airport. After passing Aloha Stadium and Ford Island, I found a bike path sign inviting me to turn onto Radford Drive, which I gladly took. After spending over an hour on the scenic Pearl Harbor Bike Path, riding on the narrow sidewalk along Kamehameha Highway was a little unsettling.
Radford Drive took me along a park and over the H-1 freeway to an unnamed bike path along Bougainville Drive. The path was lined with poles, carrying what appeared to be solar panels. They definitely added to the overall “going green” experience. This path later led me along North Nimitz Highway to Dillingham Boulevard. At this point, I knew I was going to be able to complete the trip. Dillingham Boulevard was my entry way to the concrete jungle I used to call home. A few minutes later, I found myself riding through Chinatown, the downtown district and past Iolani Palace. Within a few intersections, I made it to my office on Keeaumoku St. Winds were kicking at about 15 mph that day so although I was a little sun burnt, I wasn’t all that sweaty.
The total time for the trip to town was 2 hours and 45 minutes. That included time for photos and taking a few breaks. I was curious to see if I could shave that time down a bit so on the way back, I plugged in my mp3 player and rode non-stop for the 16 and a half miles back home. I was able to clock in at just 2 hours.
This fun experiment definitely answered some questions for me. Yes, it is possible to ride your bicycle from Waipahu to Honolulu. Is the commute practical for my day-to-day routine? I would say no. There are some homeless people that live along the path and so always ride the path during daylight hours and to do so with a friend. Having to allot approximately 4 hours of daylight for the daily trip wouldn’t leave me with enough time to put in a full day at work.
This doesn’t mean that I’m about to post a “for sale” ad for my Sweet Charlemagne (that’s the name of my bicycle). I still plan to do a decent amount of urban commuting but first, I will be placing my bike on the bus rack till I get to a centrally located destination in downtown.
I would love to hear about some other commuting experiences. Keep in mind that I am not a professional/experienced cyclist. For advice and suggestions on bicycling, contact the Hawaii Bicycling League.
A lot has happened in my life since making my 2013 New Year resolution to avoid fries. I purchased my first home and I found out that my wife and I are expecting our second child in August. With a ton of new responsibility, the challenge to live healthy continues. Day-to-day responsibilities can easily hinder efforts to eat healthier or exercise. I needed something to jolt me out of my normal routine while giving me lessons I’ll never forget. That happened today when I met Bill Cosby.
The actor/comedian is currently in Honolulu for a concert and I thought there would be no one better to give me some health advice. With a career spanning over 51 years and still dancing at the age of 75, I figured he would know a thing or two about living healthy. Not having a father around in my youth, Mr. Cosby was my sitcom dad. Whether it was the animated days of Fat Albert or drawing together on Picture Pages or the belly-aching laughter on The Cosby Show - he was always there for me via the warm glow of my television screen.
I patiently waited in line at a meet & greet scheduled for fellow Cosby fanatics like myself. Everyone was allowed to take one photo with the living legend and to give about a sentence or two of appreciation while giving a handshake. The line began moving fairly quickly but I was determined to get some advice, no matter how brief.
I held out my hand and said “hello Mr. Cosby” as I sat down next to him and skipped the photo op in order to get to my question. I asked him for any health advice.
He leaned over to me and whispered, “my wife.” He went on to explain that his wife is always making sure he eats healthy. After watching previous interactions, I assumed my time was up and was about to thank him and leave.
“This is what you do when you have a cold,” he added and so I settled back into my chair. He said to boil water and add two thumb-sized pieces of ginger. At this point I’m smiling ear to ear as I notice people in line giving the look of “what on earth are they talking about?!?”
“Listen to me, I’m serious,” is what Mr. Cosby said to snap me back into the conversation. He then advised me to add two radishes. “Do that and you’ll catch it before full bloom.” I’m assuming he was talking about drinking this hot concoction and to be honest, it doesn’t sound too appealing. But then again, it came from the man himself so it’s definitely worth a try.
So there you have it, health tips from Bill Cosby - how to live healthy and stop a cold before its worst. Let’s also not forget that laughter is the best medicine. Thanks to Mr. Cosby, I have a lifetime prescription.
Just gave my first blood donation of 2013. Now I’m charging back up with some bananas. #808strong #blooddrive #bloodbank #blooddonation #giveblood
In my youth, I would always burst with excitement when a fast food kid’s meal was given to me. The first objective was to search out my “free” toy. Next would always be to start munching on a warm, golden fry. Whether the choice being chicken nuggets or cheeseburgers, French fries always remained as the trusty sidekick.
As I got older, I noticed more and more evolutions of the fried side to keep me coming back. They started out golden and straight but then I discovered curly fries, then Cajun spiced, then with chili, then with gravy (I went to Canada) and then made with sweet potatoes. Where/when does it end? It doesn’t.
New Year’s resolutions are a bit cliché but in my opinion, they’re necessary to one’s health journey. Having the changeover of a new year is an easy reminder to do a self-assessment. As I continue to juggle family life, my band and my multiple jobs my healthy habits can slip away very easily.
I jumped onto the anti-carb craze of the early to mid-2000s, in which I had bid farewell to the freedom fry. After a year or so, I started to pick up a fry every once in a while. Then I began to resume ordering fries in my combo meals. Before you know it, I would be eating all my fries and then finishing whatever my wife and daughter would leave behind. I turned into “Daddy: The Garbage Disposal.”
A major wake up call was when I had to poke another hole in my belt – no, not in a good way. I had exhausted my belt to the point of expanding it another waist size. It’s a horrible feeling. Time to make a change.
Last week, I held up my golden, fried friend and said, “no more.” I pledge to make 2013 a year of health, hope and happiness – no, I would NOT like fries with that.
6 days before Christmas - some are out shopping for gifts. Others are watching their favorite holiday program. As for me, I spent it in the emergency room.
In October this year, I went to see my physician for a routine physical exam. After lying down for my first EKG, I was told that my heartbeat is skipping and that I may have an enlarged heart. This was officially the end of my “invincible phase.”
Having something wrong with your heart isn’t like having a sprained ankle or a twisted knee. The heart is body part #1. Without it, there’s no living. And how do I repair my heart? Can I massage it or give it a stretch? No!
I was worried that my doctor was about to tell me to give up my passions. No more jumping around on stage with my band. No more bicycle rides. Or even worse – no more coffee.
“Nope” said my doctor.
I don’t have to change a thing. He said it turns out that some people have enlarged hearts and the irregular heartbeat is something that I’d live with. The only thing I would have to keep an eye out for is heart palpitations.
When asking my doctor what a heart palpitation is like, he couldn’t answer in words. He acted it out, holding his chest, pretending to panic, while short on oxygen. I opted not to give him an academy award and instead left his office feeling broken and overly cautious.
By the time December rolled around, I didn’t put much thought into what happened at my last visit. But as stress increased and my daily hours of sleep decreased, I started to feel a change. I was sitting at my work desk but yet there were times where I felt like I’m on a roller coaster. Or perhaps, my heart was watching a horror film. Out of nowhere, my heart would just start pounding for a few seconds and then go back to normal. First it happened every hour. Then it increased to every 15 minutes.
I tried to shrug it off when I got home later that evening. But whenever it would happen, my wife noticed my facial expression and knew something was wrong. After telling her about what had been happening all day, I remembered the face that my doctor made when trying to describe a heart palpitation. It was dead on to what I was doing. Soon after entertaining the possibility of having heart palpitations, my wife was driving me to the emergency room.
I was first sent to the triage unit where an EKG was performed. The only catch was, my palpitations were coming around every 15 minutes and the EKG only took 1 minute so it was difficult to catch. After about 3 hours of waiting to see a doctor, I was getting pretty drowsy and I noticed the heart palpitations had slowly worn off.
After finally discussing everything from October to that evening with an ER physician, we suggested that I speak to my primary care physician about wearing a heart monitor for 2 days in order to catch full cycles of any heart palpitations. In the meantime, he suggested taking it easy on the coffee and to try and get more than the nightly 4 hours of sleep in my current schedule.
I made the adjustments of coffee and sleep and I have noticed the irregularity of my heartbeat to be a lot less frequent. Something that a coworker suggested to me is remember to breathe when I start to feel the possible palpitations. Taking a deep breath has definitively helped me get through those rough spots.
I still have yet to see my physician about the heart monitor but this experience is already proving to me how much stress and sleep can affect your body.